There really is no other way to describe this as the sum total of my knowledge about Japan comes from two years of language lessons in early high school and that one episode of An Idiot Abroad where Karl eats fermented fish.
Still… this is quite good, not least because it got James to actually eat (some) green beans.
So who cares if it’s only “Japproximate”? Give it a go.
- 500 grams chicken thighs. You want this skinless and boneless so don’t do what I did and just click “chicken thighs” on ocado.com. Adds a whole other damn step.
- 1 brown onion. Sliced into half moons.
- 3 garlic cloves. (Or two large ones.) Crushed.
- Peeled, grated ginger. “One thumb’s worth.”
- 150 grams green beans.
- 1 packet of miso soup goo. About a tablespoon.
- 1 tablespoon of garam masala.
- 9 dried curry leaves. Slightly crushed.
- 400 ml chicken stock. From cubes or whatever.
- 200 grams Basmati rice. Not strictly authentic, I give you that. Use whatever you like.
- A few crushed cardamom pods. To go in with the rice.
1. Prep all the ingredients first. Chop the onions, chop the chicken, trim and halve the green beans.
Don’t forget about the rice. Crush a few whole cardamom pods and throw them on top of your rice. No need to de-pod them. They’re just there to provide an awesome aromatic hint.
2. Brown the chicken in some groundnut or vegetable oil. (Something without flavour.) Remove to a plate once it’s done.
3. Drizzle some more oil in the pan and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook over a moderate heat for about eight minutes.
4. While these are cooking, make up the chicken stock and then stir the miso paste into it so everything disperses, leaving you with an unpleasant liquid that looks like nothing quite so much as dishwater.
5. Return the chicken to the pan with the garam masala and curry leaves. Stir to coat.
6. After about a minute, stir in the stock/miso mixture, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for twenty minutes.
Immediately rinse out the stock/miso jug, fill it with 400ml of near-boiling water and put the rice, cardamom pods and water in a small saucepan, stirring once only at the beginning. Put the lid on the saucepan and turn the heat down very low. Leave it for fifteen minutes without taking the lid off or stirring.
7. Once the rice is done, remove from the heat but leave the lid on. Throw the green beans in with the chicken for the last five minutes of simmering.
8. Fork the rice to fluff it back up, divide between various plates and serve with the Japproximate chicken.